South Africa: Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni On Digital Migration and Analogue Switch-Off Plan

press release

Media statement by the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on the broadcast digital migration and analogue switch-off plan implementation update

Introduction

On the 5th of October 2021, I briefed South Africans about our revised Integrated Broadcast Digital Migration and Analogue Switch-Off Implementation Plan and committed to monthly updates on the progress with the implementation. South Africa is firmly on the Broadcast Digital Migration (BDM), which is a process that is aiming to improve media services and leverage the efficiencies brought by the new digital broadcasting technology.

The Broadcast Digital Migration falls within the broader digital transformation objectives of creating new possibilities and laying a foundation for new innovative products as the world, including South Africa, shifts into digital economies. As a department responsible for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) sector, we are required to spearhead the transformation of not only the sector but the entire South African economy for the digital future. The broadcast digital migration allows the country to access the digital dividend as part of our journey towards a digital economy.

Progress status of the Broadcast Digital Migration (BDM) programme

The government of South Africa undertook to assist indigent households, who apply for assistance, with set-top-box installation to ensure universal migration that does not leave anyone behind. We indicated that indigent households that register on or before the 31 October 2021 will be connected before the ASO, and those who register after the 31st October 2021 will still be registered between 3 - 6 months after the switch-off.

As at the end of October we recorded 48,453 new registrations bringing the total number of registered indigent households to 1,228,879. The process of registering indigent households continues and teams from the Department, SAPO, and USAASA are in various districts of our country to assist indigent households with registration.

A total of 572,255 beneficiary households have been migrated from the current total of 1,228,879. For the month of November, over 30,000 new applications have been recorded. I have taken time to visit provinces to observe first-hand, the registration drive, installation of STBs and how people are receiving digital television. I was in the Eastern Cape and Free State in October, whereas Deputy Minister Mapulane was North West.

We have managed to conclude analogue Switch-off in the Free-State province at the end of October in accordance with the plan without any TV blackouts; and this Friday, 26th November 2021 we will complete the switch-off of the last SABC analogue site in the Northern-Cape in Upington and I will also visit some television receiving households. We are also on track to conclude the North West in line with the plan.

terms of analogue sites switch-off, Sentech has been able to switch off all (84 sites) Multichoice analogue transmissions, 113 out of 288 (40%) SABC analogue transmissions and 4 of the 95 (4%) eTV analogue transmissions.

The past month was also used to ramp-up installer capacity in line with the Managed Integrated Model (MiM) as per the approved Plan. Sentech's installer capacity for the remaining Provinces has been created, and this will intensify installations in following months in all remaining provinces.

While South Africa is shifting to digital, we want to ensure that we avoid dumping of analogue Televisions in South Africa. I am therefore in consultation with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) to coordinate government's approach on the non-proliferation of analogue TVs in the South African market.

We have established and approved the after-market support strategy and plan. The objective of the aftermarket support is to ensure that registered households are supported in all languages during and after STB installation process. The existing Call Centre within Sentech will be transitioned to the After-Market Support Centre within the SABC. The call centre is operational with contact no 0860 736 832 and whatsapp 0600 625 458.

I have established a project steering committee that is made up of key stakeholders, and we continue to meet to review project progress and resolve on matters escalated by the project operations structure. The ASO programme has been adequately resourced with human capacity and funding, and the Governance structures continue to drive implementation in accordance with the approved plan.

What must members of the public do to migrate

You need a Set-Top box installed or a digital television to migrate from Analogue to Digital. For the indigent households, government assistance is available through registration at your nearest Post Office or through the following link www.stbregistration.gov.za as from Monday, 29 November 2021. SITA is finalizing the registration link that can be used by those with USSD phone/ feature phone or Lipopotane.

South African citizens who are still receiving television services directly from an Aerial/Antenna that get mounted on a pole and do not have set-top box or smart TV set, should find themselves a set-top box or a digital TV to be able to receive digital Television. A set-top box is a device that enables you to receive digital Television services, they can be accessed from South African Post Office and various retailers across the country.

For the list of digital TVs, DTT compatible TVs and smart TV sets, you may call or WhatsApp the Call Centre on the numbers 0860 736 832 and WhatsApp 0600 625 458 or visit the websites of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies: www.dcdt.gov.za.

The Analogue Switch-off messages continue to scroll on analogue TVs with applicable dates, please ensure that you migrate before the set dates so that you can continue to receive television services after the switch-off. Remember that if you are already connected though the DSTV, OVHD, StarSat and Telkom one platform you will not be affected by the analogue switch-off. Should you not be eligible for government STB and still require migrating to digital, please liaise with above mentioned broadcaster and arrange you're your digital installation.

If you own a smart digital TV and live in an area that has digital terrestrial network coverage, you do not need an additional decoder. Test if your TV has a digital tuner by running a manual or auto channel search.

Please continue to listen to your public and community radio stations, monitor the social media platform of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and its entities to get the latest information regarding the digital migration and analogues switch-off or contact the call-central for more information or any of the following websites:

www.gov.za

www.dcdt.gov.za

www.sentech.co.za

www.usaasa.org.za

www.sapo.co.za

www.sabc.co.za

Thank you,

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